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Sandown Australian Hurdle and Steeple

May 31st, 2014 0 comments

By the time this meeting comes around I’m normally in hibernation, but here I am, out at Sandown for a jumps meeting. It’s unseasonal weather for May, and there must be a quirk in the calendar, because the jumps don’t start till June, and I’m not a jumps fan, but here I am, on a mission. My mission, should I decide to accept it, is to photograph Picture Editor’s browband, for the Rare Stuff chapter in the new book.

With plenty of time to cool my heels I decided to get a shot of the steeplechasers jumping the last fence. Gosh. There were a dozen security guys in red and yellow jackets guarding the length of the straight. The club is obviously very touchy about the anti-jumps brigade. I got past the first couple OK but number five wanted to see my pass. My members ticket did the job. I got up to the rail and the guard there had apoplexy and tried to usher me away from the rail. Photo ID! Photo ID! My members pass wasn’t good enough. I said I was a jumps fan, and that I just wanted a picture of the horses, and I’m a member of the club. Not good enough. Photo ID! Photo ID! Can I see your supervisor. Yes, yes. And the supervisor agrees I could stay, but not on the rail. So my picture is not half as good as those you see in the press. There were at least five photographers there, with three or four cameras on the ground, all triggered by remote control. All hoping for a fall, no doubt. Krase won the race.

In the end I managed a reasonable picture of Picture Editor’s browband, but I’m still mystified as to what they do. It can’t be for sweat control like McEnroe’s head band, because horses don’t seem to sweat there. Maybe it’s for decorative purposes, like Pat Cash’s checkerboard number. Maybe it keeps hair out of the eyes. The strapper suggested that it calmed the horse and was something to do with shadows. Maybe it cuts out overhead glare, like a croupier’s visor. Maybe it’s one of life’s mysteries, like life itself.

And an average picture of a yawn, but a nice one of fetlock boots, and not too bad of the old sticking plaster. I’m off on sabbatical now till October, maybe back for the Turnbull Stakes, definitely the Guineas. Hopefully some of these final photos will make the cut and get into the book. Look out for progress reports.



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